July 08, 2007

180 more reasons to buy local and organic

Make that 217 reasons. You know about the tainted pet food and you're probably aware of the toxic toothpaste. Well, according to this Forbes article, "the Chinese government recently announced that it had shut down 180 factories and revoked 37 licenses of food makers for using dangerous chemicals during the six months from December to May."

A Chinese government watchdog group "said it had found over 23,000 cases of adulterated food nationwide in the six months...including flour, candy, pickles, biscuits, bean curd and seafood."

Yuck.

The article notes that it's unclear whether any of these foods were bound for exports, but still, yuck. Should anybody be using soy sauce that is alleged to be fermented from human and animal hair? (From what the Internets tell me, it's usually made of salt, fermented soybeans - or hydrolyzed vegetable protein- and water, maybe some artificial coloring...but no hair.)

Granted, there are lots of things we'd prefer not to know about our food, but, as they suggest in this post at The Sustainable Table, an organization I learned about at the Family Farmed Expo in March, maybe it's time to be COOL and introduce Country Of Origin Labeling on our food. What do you think?

I learned about this through Britt Bravo's post at BlogHer*. It's an interesting, chock-full-of links, read. She mentions a book I picked up earlier this year- Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon. I liked what I read of it, but I didn't finish it because it was a library book and it was due (okay, overdue) and I had to get it back and I have a nightstand full of books just begging to be read. Smith and Mackinnon alternate chapters, giving you a he said/she said take on their year of only eating food grown within 100 mile of their Vancouver home.

If that sounds tempting, you may also want to read Barabara Kingsolver's new book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, in which she and her family eat only what they can produce on their family farm over the course of a year.

So many books, so little time! If you've read either of these books, I hope you'll leave some feedback on them in the comments section.

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*I'm going to the BlogHer conference! Are you?

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